University Leader Is on Leave After 2 Traffic Violations

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 13, 2007

The president of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg was placed on paid leave yesterday after twice being charged this week with impaired driving, school officials and police said.

William J. Frawley was charged with driving while intoxicated after his car ran off the road Tuesday in Fairfax County and overturned, police said. On Wednesday, he was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence after officers said he was spotted driving erratically in Fredericksburg.

Frawley, 53, has led the university since July.

Yesterday, the university's Board of Visitors met for several hours to discuss the incidents while Frawley was being treated at Mary Washington Hospital. His medical status was not disclosed.

"The Board of Visitors of the University of Mary Washington wants to express our deepest concerns and support for President Frawley and his family at this very difficult time," Board Rector J. William Poole said in a statement. "The Board of Visitors asks the students, faculty, staff and friends in the community to join us in our thoughts and prayers for Dr. Frawley's complete recovery and for his wife and family."

Mary Washington, a public liberal arts school, serves about 4,000 students on its Fredericksburg campus. The university also runs a graduate and professional program in Stafford County.

Frawley's single-car accident occurred about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday while he was driving on Georgetown Pike in the Great Falls area, Fairfax police Officer Camille Neville said. She said that a warrant was issued on the driving violation but that police did not immediately serve it because he had been taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment and could not go before a magistrate.

University officials said Frawley left the hospital Wednesday morning against the advice of the medical staff and returned to Fredericksburg.

About 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, a driver in Fredericksburg called 911 and said she was behind a car that was missing its right front tire. Natatia Bledsoe, Fredericksburg police spokeswoman, said the driver did not appear to know the tire was missing, was driving below the speed limit and was swerving into oncoming traffic.

Officers followed the car to Brompton Mansion, the university president's residence, and found that Frawley was driving, police said. Officers noticed that Frawley had a head injury and called a rescue squad, but he declined treatment.

Frawley refused to take a breath or blood test, Fredericksburg police said. He was charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take a test. Officers persuaded him to go to Mary Washington Hospital, where he was admitted. Fairfax police said the warrant issued in Northern Virginia would be served.

University spokeswoman Teresa Mannix said officials had no information on Frawley's medical status.

Frawley, who is a linguist, served as dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University before going to Mary Washington. University Vice President Richard Hurley will take over while Frawley is on leave.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company